by A.S. Byatt | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0679735909 Global Overview for this book
Registered by dicentra-tn of Nashville, Tennessee USA on 5/8/2005
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20 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by dicentra-tn from Nashville, Tennessee USA on Sunday, May 8, 2005
This one was a lot of work. Well-written, but I wasn't too happy with the ending. The historical parts of it I found more engaging than the modern-day parts; Maud never felt very real to me, and the other academics seemed like stereotypes.

Journal Entry 2 by therubycanary from Sebago, Maine USA on Monday, April 17, 2006
Ack! I hate when books use the movie cover, rather than the original, and the male actor has the worst look on his face. I haven't read this one, and probably won't, so I'm taking it to Toronto.

Journal Entry 3 by crazy-book-lady from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Sunday, April 23, 2006
Picked up at the North American Bookcrossing Convention.

I read this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so I don't want to part with my personal copy. This copy will be for release.

Thanks therubycanary! It was nice meeting you at the convention!

Journal Entry 4 by crazy-book-lady from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Monday, May 15, 2006
Sending to morsecode who accepted it on the BookRelay site.

Journal Entry 5 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Thursday, May 25, 2006
I was so pleased to see this book offered as part of the relay.
I actually have a copy in my TBR, but I am not going to have a chance to read it any time soon and it is on the wishlist of a lovely BCer who really deserves a surprise RABCK!
I'll be sending it off to its new reader this weekend :)

Journal Entry 6 by chich from Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Monday, July 31, 2006
Image hosting by Photobucket Woo Hoo!!!! Book received today, thanks SO MUCH morsecode!

I was having a pretty bad morning until I found this totally unexpected RABCK in the mailbox, it really made my day:-)))) I've been wanting to read "Possession" for a really long time and since I just finished a book this morning, I think I'll get right to this one:)

morsecode you really are the best, thanks for putting a huge smile on my face:D

The beautiful card you inserted in the book can be seen here:)

Journal Entry 7 by chich from Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Sunday, August 6, 2006
This was a very good read although I had a hard time with the modern day characters. I understood their motivations but just couldn't get myself to like them... The book cover bothered me quite a bit since I couldn't see the resemblance between the actors and the characters as Byatt describes them in the book -besides, I don't like either Gwyneth Paltrow or Aaron Eckhart, so that didn't help;) What I did like very much were the historical parts and how the letters between Ash and Christabel La Motte, their poems and stories and the diary written by LaMotte's cousin helped the story develop. I also found the (sometimes sardonic) description of academic researchers very interesting, even though the characters seemed somehow "less alive" than the historical ones.

Still, I enjoyed reading the book very much and once I started it, just couldn't put it down!

Thanks again for this wonderful RABCK morsecode!

Journal Entry 8 by chich from Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Tuesday, August 8, 2006
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Starting a BookRay, PM me if you want to join!

Shipping order for this Ray:
1) Bookworm-lady, Spain, Euro shipping
2) sintra, Germany, Euro shipping
3) teuffi, UK, can ship anywhere
4) chas04, UK, can ship anywhere
5) olered, US, US & Canada shipping
6) nancydotslash, US, can ship anywhere. --> asked to be skipped
8) Bartonz, US, can ship anywhere
7) BellaMack, Australia, Australia shipping only --> asked to be skipped
8) djbebe, Australia, can ship anywhere.
9) KT-J, UK, will ship anywhere.
10) stubee, UK, will ship anywhere.
11) bluecat07, Germany, can ship anywhere --> asked to be skipped
12) fushmush, UK, will ship anywhere.
13) cat207, Australia, will ship anywhere.
14) buocl, US, US shipping.
15) jennannej, US

16) peachy93722, US, can ship anywhere. **current location**
17) angela861, US, can ship anywhere.
18) justmesam, Netherlands, Euro shipping preferred but int'l ok.
19) RowanneM, Scotland, can ship anywhere.
20) christina82, Denmark, can ship anywhere.
21) blackadder75, US (PA), US shipping.
22) withoutwings, US (AZ), US shipping.
23) Queniene, US (CO), US shipping.


BookRay Recommendations:
• make a journal entry when you receive the book so everyone knows it has safely arrived
• try to read it within a month
• ask the next on the list for his/her address
• make a journal entry when finished, telling us what you thought - did you like it? Did you think it was well-written?
• wrap it up well and send it to on

Please PM me in case of any problems/unforseen delay. If you are experiencing an RBC (Reading Backlog Crisis) or no longer wish to read the book, let me know and I will move/remove you down/off the list.

Hint: Ask for the address of the next on the list before you have finished reading; sometimes it takes a while before you get a reply. Some people don't get PM's. You may want to look for an e-mail address on their profile, or leave an ISO message on the forum. If the person doesn't respond within 7-10 days (use your judgement), please PM the next person, and then me, so I can update the bookray list.

**Cheapest postage rate is fine**

Happy reading everyone!

Journal Entry 9 by chich from Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
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Here we go!

Book sent to bookworm-lady today, enjoy/que lo disfrutes!

Journal Entry 10 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I received it yesterday as part of a Bookring. Thanks, Chich!
Looking forward to reading it!

Journal Entry 11 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Monday, September 25, 2006
I really liked it, though I agree that the old-time story is much better than the current one. The characters are more credible; I found the present-day characters quite hard to believe (all that talk about Maud's headscarves, for example!)
Overall, a very interesting novel, with an original premise.
I am sending it to Sintra, in Germany.

Journal Entry 12 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Tuesday, September 26, 2006
On its way to Sintra, in Germany; sent it by post today at noon.

Journal Entry 13 by sintra from Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Saturday, September 30, 2006
The book arrived with yesterday's mail. I'm currently reading another bookring but this one here is definitely next on my list.

Thanks a lot, chich and Bookworm-lady!

Journal Entry 14 by sintra from Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I simply loved this book! Part of the reason might be the fact that I study English Literature and was therefore glad that somebody considered it interesting enough to write about it - but it's also a very well-written novel. I really liked the way A.S. Byatt portrays the different types of academic (and non-academic) research into the lives of the two poets. She's also playing with the different meanings of the word "possession" in a very clever way. The whole book is wonderfully constructed as an academic puzzle but very touching at the same time. I didn't really expect it to be this tragic and I was bloody close to tears in the epilogue. Ahh yes, and there's quite a lot of Shakespeare in the book...

(Btw: I wasn't too happy with the film adaptation which I watched after I finished reading the book. Especially the guy playing Roland was terribly miscast...)

Thanks again for this wonderful bookray! It's on its way to teuffi now.

Journal Entry 15 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Book received yesterday. Will read it as soon as I am done with the rings I already have!
Thanks chich and sintra!

Journal Entry 16 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Sunday, February 11, 2007
First of all, apologies for the delay in journalling this book, my computer crashed about a month ago and I just got the chance to fixing it.

I did find it difficult to get into this book, but once I finally got over the first lot of letters, I started to enjoy it to end the book loving it!

I will pass the book on as soon as I get chase04's address.

Once again, apologies to all for this delay.

Journal Entry 17 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Monday, February 12, 2007
Sent the book to chase04 today. Happy reading!

Journal Entry 18 by chas04 from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I received this yesterday, so arrived safe and sound. As soon as I've finished what I'm reading I'll start on this. Thank you chich for organising.

Journal Entry 19 by chas04 from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire United Kingdom on Sunday, February 25, 2007
I really cannot get into this book at all and having just moved house I haven't got the time to try and get into it either. So, I shall accept defeat and pass it on to olered once I receive their address.

Journal Entry 20 by olered from Salem, Oregon USA on Friday, March 9, 2007
Possession has made a very quick trip across the ocean and the US and arrived on the Pacific Coasr of Oregon today

Journal Entry 21 by olered from Salem, Oregon USA on Friday, April 20, 2007
Perhaps I had too many distractions...like taxes, or perhaps life is too instantaneous now... I found the idea of the story wonderful, I loved the story - but the actual reading rather slugish......I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read it, but in the end rented the movie,
Mailed 4-23

Journal Entry 22 by bartonz from Bellevue, Washington USA on Thursday, May 17, 2007
Oh Wow! I forgot to journal this when it got here! I'm half-way through and have pm'd the next person for their address.

Journal Entry 23 by bartonz from Bellevue, Washington USA on Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Upfront, I have to say that I try to never see a movie before reading the book on which it is based and unfortunately in this case I was unsuccessful. I saw the movie version of “Possession” a year or two ago and realize now that this was one of those books which should never have been made into a film. The book is not only far superior to the film, but it consists of so many internal thoughts, feelings and dialogues, that just can’t be photographed. Anyway, that all being said, I was quite impressed by “Possession” by A. S. Byatt despite the physical intrusion of actors Gwynneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhardt into my brain as I read.

“Possession” by is set in the 1980’s/1890’s in London, the English countryside and Brittany, France and tells the story of two poet historians, Roland and Maud, immersed in the lives of (fictional) poets Randolph H. Ash and Christabel LaMotte, respectively. Maud is a far relation of LaMotte and has established a museum of sorts for her in the Women’s Resource Center in a small university. Roland toils at a pauper’s wage studying and research Ash in a library at the British Museum, fondly known as “the Ash Factory.”

Roland discovers a bit of evidence that the two poets might have not only known each other, but influenced each other’s poetry, which was in and of itself telling the history of previous poets, scientists and retelling folklore and legend. He and Maud revel in this newly discovered secret and wish to discover all the threads to this tapestry before established academia and obsessive fans of the poets get wind of it and bring it to the public.

The essence of “Possession” revolves around the notion of owning and being owned by another person and even the acquisition of material things and the ideas and concepts we attach to these things and people. During the time of Ash and LaMotte, women were still legally possessions of their fathers and then husbands and the poets were discovering the universal truths of these concepts throughout the stories and legends from the beginning of time forward. They discuss the mythos of this legal possession and the ways men have always feared being possessed by women (and female monsters) like Medussa, Vivienne, Sybill, Melusine, etc.

Byatt masterfully moves from poetry to history to journal to correspondence to narrative and keeps the integrity of each writer’s voice throughout. I find it fascinating when an author creates an entire literary legacy for one character in a story, much less four main characters and a slew of hangers on. “Possession” can indeed grab on to you and pull you down into it. I read this as part of a book ring and regret that I have to send it on. I just might have to get a copy for myself to delve deeper into the legends and authors Byatt includes because some of it went over my head and I truly desire understanding.

It's on its way to djebe

Journal Entry 24 by djbebe from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Thursday, May 31, 2007
Arrived in the mail yesterday - looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 25 by djbebe from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Sunday, July 22, 2007
This was a fascinating read - but very involved - which is why it took me a bit longer than a month. If only I could have sat down and read it all in one sitting! I found the poetry a bit challenging at first but eventually even that drew me in. Based on other comments here I will avoid seeing the movie.

Will send onto stubee as soon as I get the address.

Journal Entry 26 by djbebe from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Monday, August 6, 2007
posted to stubee today

Journal Entry 27 by stubee from Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Thursday, August 30, 2007
Received thanks Chich for including us. KT-J will probably read this before me as she's a quicker read than I am!

Journal Entry 28 by KT-J from Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Monday, October 1, 2007
I've taken this from Stubee as he's a bit behind me on the bookring front! Looking forward to reading this next.

Journal Entry 29 by KT-J from Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Well, where to begin! I did enjoy this book, I thought the whole concept was really good with the parallel time periods running through it and the piecing together of Ash and LaMotte's story bit by bit, even in the epilogue.

I did get a bit bogged down though and found it a bit of a struggle to get through in places. I'm not a massive poetry fan really so I have to admit I did skip past a few of the longer poems and skim read the rest, although towards the end I did get into them a bit more and actually began to read them.

Like some other people I did find the modern characters a bit annoying and not as real as the historical characters. I understood why they were there but some of their conversations were a bit too convoluted and laboured the points a bit much when distinguishing the differences between the time periods. I just wanted them to get on and get to the next bit!

All in all though a good book and I'm glad I read it. Thanks chich for sharing this :o) I've passed it back to Stubee to read now.

Journal Entry 30 by stubee from Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Monday, October 22, 2007
KT-J has passed this back to me so I'll get on with it shortly - sorry Chich that it's taking so long but I know you understand what it's like to be in bookring hell


Journal Entry 31 by stubee from Bury, Lancashire United Kingdom on Monday, November 26, 2007
OK, first of all let me say sorry for keeping this so long and taking forever to get through this novel. I must say I baulk at novels with more than 500 pages and I am rather afraid of them. But this was on the 1001 Books You Must Read before You Die list and after passing on John Irving’s The Cider House Rules and quitting on Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song recently I felt I had to read this.

A.S. Byatt is a fabulously gifted writer, the whole idea behind the book, the many stories and poems and settings in this novel amazed me; the variety of the novel is unique and although I found it a difficult time consuming read I must say I was impressed greatly by Byatt’s skills.

I do ask why name the two male characters with similar names – it does confuse me at times Roland and Randolph surely she could have come up with a none too similar name for Roland, how about Edward?

I enjoyed the stories “The Glass Coffin” and “The Threshold” Although the poems I must say were a bit too much for me; “Swammerdam” hurt my head!!!!

I found THE CORRESPONDENCE Pages 173- 220, very difficult – the letters between Christabel and R H Ash where intriguing yet hard for me to follow – weather this was the language they used or my “dumbness” I do not know, yes I got the jist of it all but these pages where very hard going for me.

But however I struggled up until Roland and Maud went off together to follow in Ash’s footsteps, I found this section to flow and all of a sudden I was hooked and couldn’t put this down, if found myself reading the novel at every spare minute I had. The mystery of it all, the feeling of the chase it all overwhelmed me in the end, and although I worked out who Maud was before it was revelled I must say that the revelling letter was great to read.

So overall impressions: excellent novel, for me difficult to get into but once you get passed the initial struggle a great enthralling read, the characters both from the past and present day are intriguing and it’s nice to see how these develop throughout the novel. I’d recommend this to anyone who isn’t daunted by the size and complexity of it.

I’ve got fushmush’s address so I’ll sent this off sometime this week, probably won’t be until Friday though. Thanks very much to chich for sharing this with me.

Edit 30/11/07: Posted today.

Journal Entry 32 by fushmush from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Received today. I recently watched the movie so I hope that doesn't spoil the book.

Update: 7/01/2008 Sorry it's taking so long. I'm reading this now and I've about half way through. It's hard going.

Journal Entry 33 by fushmush from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Friday, January 11, 2008
Repeat after me... Never watch the movie before reading the book.

Unfortunately, the impact of this book was severely lessened as I had seen the movie and knew what happens at the end. The twists and turns were completely lost on me. Hard to get worked up about something when you know the outcome.

Apart from that it was still an enjoyable read. However, it was 300 pages or so before I really started to get into it. If it wasn't for my commitment to stick it out with Booker books I may not have finished this one. I'm glad I did.

Will PM the next in line for address.

Journal Entry 34 by cat207 on Monday, January 21, 2008
Picked up from the Post Office today. Thank you fushmush and chich for sharing.X

Journal Entry 35 by cat207 on Saturday, January 26, 2008
Like others, I found this to be a bit of a chore in the beginning - my mind kept wandering away while I was reading. But I did come to see it as a treasure. So many different styles of writing!

And did I read that Postscript at the start of the book? I've been back through the early pages and can't find it, but I'm sure I'd already read it.

I have buocl's address and will mail the book on Tuesday 29th - Monday being a public holiday for Australia Day!

Journal Entry 36 by buocl from Medina, Ohio USA on Friday, February 8, 2008
Came in the mail yesterday, perfect timing because I just finished The Handmaid's Tale. Will start reading this today. Thanks chich and cat207! (BTW - I think I found someone's shopping list inside)

Journal Entry 37 by buocl from Medina, Ohio USA on Thursday, February 14, 2008
I'm not sure what to write about this book, because the majority of my opinions have already been stated. I found parts which did not hold my attention, and I almost fell asleep during Cropper's autobiography. But I did enjoy the book overall. My favorite chapter was the Postcript - a sweet ending to the tale.

I have jennannej's address and will mail the book this weekend.

Journal Entry 38 by buocl at Post Office in Book Relay, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, February 17, 2008

Released 14 yrs ago (2/16/2008 UTC) at Post Office in Book Relay, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases



Mailed to jennannej.

One more thing about the book - what the heck was with Maud and the color green? That seemed pretty off the wall to me.

Journal Entry 39 by jennannej from Coronado, California USA on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Quite excited to receive this today. It's been one of those books that I've wanted to read for ages.

Journal Entry 40 by jennannej from Coronado, California USA on Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Quite an interesting novel. Not exactly what I had expected, but near enough.

I have actually seen this film years ago but didn't remember much about it, except that I didn't enjoy it.

The story was intriguing, both the current one and the historical one. I can't say I really sympathized with any of the characters. I love reading epistolary novels and I loved the mystery of this one. At times I zipped through this book and at others plodded. I'm not a big poetry reader, so the poems slowed me down quite a bit, as did a few of the long, wordy letters.

Overall, excellent, fun. I quite liked the epilogue.

28 Feb 08: Sent to peachy93722.

Journal Entry 41 by peachy93722 from Seattle, Washington USA on Monday, March 3, 2008
got in the post this morning. Looks interesting and I'll get started reading it asap.

Journal Entry 42 by chich from Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Monday, August 18, 2008
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peachy93722, could you please try & pass this book to the next participant on the list ASAP? I've PMed you several times and looked for you in the forums but have had no response so far... There are still quite a few persons after you on the list so please keep the book moving! Thanks.

Journal Entry 43 by chich from Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Thursday, September 4, 2008
This book has now been stalled for the past 6 months so I've bought another copy to replace it.

Journal Entry 44 by dicentra-tn from Nashville, Tennessee USA on Sunday, September 7, 2008
I'm sad to see that this one stalled. Even though I wasn't crazy about this book, it was fun to read all the entries from so many people who appreciated it better than I did! yay for bookcrossing - made me glad I'd sent the book on its way. Thanks chich for organizing the bookring.

I am curious how the paperback held up though. I tend to be a little rough on them, and I'm surprised it survived so many readings!

Journal Entry 45 by lostbookisland on Monday, September 29, 2008
This book has washed ashore at the Lost Book Island after not being heard from for many months. This new arrival will be shown to a room and be allowed a bit of rest before being introduced to the many fun things to do here at the island.

All around there are books sipping cool drinks under shady palms while other books participate in a wide variety of beach sports. There is plenty of sand, surf and sun here for all of the lost and wayward books to enjoy.

It is hoped that very soon a new journal entry will come to rescue this book from the island and send it back out into the BookCrossing world so that it may continue on its journey. It is hoped that the new journal entry will tell all the interested parties where this book has been this long time and where it will be traveling to next.

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